The perception of Mandarin lexical tones by native Korean speakers differing in their experience with Mandarin

Kimiko Tsukada, Jeong-Im Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

While it is well established that non-native speakers differ from native speakers in their perception and/or production of Mandarin lexical tones, empirical studies focusing on non-native learners are still limited. The objective of this study is to add to the current understanding of lexical tone perception by comparing native speakers of standard Korean from the Seoul/Kyunggi area differing in Mandarin experience (NK1, NK2) with native speakers of Mandarin. NK1 (n = 10) had no experience with Mandarin whereas NK2 (n = 10) consisted of highly advanced learners of Mandarin. A group of 10 native Mandarin (NM) speakers was included as controls. Accuracy of perception of six tone pairs (T1–T2, T1–T3, T1–T4, T2–T3, T2–T4, T3–T4) was assessed in a four-alternative forced-choice discrimination test. As expected, the NK2 group with extensive Mandarin learning experience resembled the NM group to a greater extent than did the NK1 group. T2–T3 was the hardest pair for both NK groups, but NK2 had the largest advantage over NK1 for this pair. Apart from T2–T3 which is generally considered difficult, tone pairs involving T1 caused some misperception by the NK groups. This may be related to the difficulty with perceiving a level tone which shows the least fundamental frequency (F0) movement and possibly has limited perceptual salience.

LanguageEnglish
Pages305-318
Number of pages14
JournalSecond Language Research
Volume35
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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experience
Group
discrimination
learning

Keywords

  • Korean
  • lexical tones
  • Mandarin
  • perception

Cite this

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abstract = "While it is well established that non-native speakers differ from native speakers in their perception and/or production of Mandarin lexical tones, empirical studies focusing on non-native learners are still limited. The objective of this study is to add to the current understanding of lexical tone perception by comparing native speakers of standard Korean from the Seoul/Kyunggi area differing in Mandarin experience (NK1, NK2) with native speakers of Mandarin. NK1 (n = 10) had no experience with Mandarin whereas NK2 (n = 10) consisted of highly advanced learners of Mandarin. A group of 10 native Mandarin (NM) speakers was included as controls. Accuracy of perception of six tone pairs (T1–T2, T1–T3, T1–T4, T2–T3, T2–T4, T3–T4) was assessed in a four-alternative forced-choice discrimination test. As expected, the NK2 group with extensive Mandarin learning experience resembled the NM group to a greater extent than did the NK1 group. T2–T3 was the hardest pair for both NK groups, but NK2 had the largest advantage over NK1 for this pair. Apart from T2–T3 which is generally considered difficult, tone pairs involving T1 caused some misperception by the NK groups. This may be related to the difficulty with perceiving a level tone which shows the least fundamental frequency (F0) movement and possibly has limited perceptual salience.",
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The perception of Mandarin lexical tones by native Korean speakers differing in their experience with Mandarin. / Tsukada, Kimiko; Han, Jeong-Im.

In: Second Language Research, Vol. 35, No. 3, 01.07.2019, p. 305-318.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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